E3: The Trailers – Dragon Age. In-game!

By Alec Meer on July 17th, 2008 at 4:27 pm.

At last – no silly cinematic, no unhelpful announcement of name-change – just honest-to-god in-game action from Bioware’s next RPG.

It’s not Mass Effect with orcs. It’s not Oblivion with, er, different orcs. In fact, it’s quite possibly exactly what you cRPG-starved masses been praying for (well, I say that, but really I’m braced for the inevitable storm of complaint). And for the non-cRPG-starved masses, it also features a very cool bossfight. Go, get beneath the cut! Quickly!

(High-quality version here)

So, Baldur’s Gate 3 by any other name? Maybe, maybe… This just shot up high on my Dear Santa list.

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87 Comments »

  1. SanguineLobster says:

    Oooh, I’m liking how far you can zoom out, i was afraid this was going to third person as opposed to top-down.

  2. James G says:

    @ Stitched

    The NWN party control was awfull (Read, non-existant) granted, but I can’t see anything in this video which suggests that it significantly departs from that of NWN2. They appear to have switched to a mana system granted, but thats a result of the move away from D&D rules. What did I miss?

  3. CaptainJorge says:

    Okay. So the trailer had some nice looking spells and a spiffy fatality to to big boss of the trailer. But what is the game about? Give me a taste of an intriguing, original, and gripping storyline and then I’ll be excited. This new stuff it nice, but I’ll take 1998′s graphics with Baldur’s Gate epic storyline any day. This trailer looks okay, and the last one looked too Peter Jackson-ish. I’m going to hope Bioware has a lot of surprises in store for us. Spells, combat, and game mechanics should not be the top priority for this type of game.

  4. Azhrarn says:

    Looks a bit like a spiritual successor to NWN2, which atleast in my opinion isn’t a bad thing. I enjoyed that game a great deal. :) Party system included, providing you were willing to hit pause game a lot. ^_^

    But I have to chime in with some of the earlier posters. Why didn’t they release this thing first, that “meh” cinematic trailer seriously disappointed me.
    But this one… colour me impressed and interested. :D

  5. MetalCircus says:

    I only included WWII as an example. I never said WW2 > FANTASY LULZZZ. I think World War Two is cliché bullshit as well but a lot of people are still okay with yet another fantasy setting RPG.

    I know it doesn’t really affect the enjoyment of the game really (i could still sit down with Morrowind and have a good blast) but don’t you wish there was a change?

    Surely the RPG forumla can be applied to ANY setting? You could apply it to a game about an 80′s yuppie if you really bloody wanted. (smugness, prick-factor, arrogance – all possible attributes. Hang on, I might be on to something here…)

  6. Dorian Cornelius Jasper says:

    Honestly, I’d be fine with a WW2 RPG, too. Mix things up a bit.

    Shooting Nazis and building up stats. Having fun with dialogue trees, trying to convince the Gestapo that I’m totally not trying to shoot more Nazis. Hey now.

  7. Ragnar says:

    Hmm, nice looking.

    I wonder why they decided to feature the spell ‘Blizzard’ in this trailer, though. :-)

  8. Tim James says:

    First and only game I’m excited about out of this E3.

  9. James G says:

    Setting is a major issue of any game genre, mainly as a direct result of game mechanics. Combat is a fairly easy challenge of implement, but the corpse count of any RPG would seem daft in any contemporary setting. Not to mention the morality becomes vastly more troubling* to the player when suddenly his enemies are no longer quite the ‘forces of evil.’ In many ways I think this is one reason why WWII is such a popular setting, while the morality of individual German soldiers is as grey as anyone’s, the Nazi’s as an entity still represent something which is almost universally regarded as evil. (Actions of other dictators and generally nasty folks not withstanding, Hitler would still be flashing at the top of the Family Fortunes board when they asked 100 people to name the most evil person in history)

    I don’t think its co-incidence that the games that most frequently have contemporary or otherwise ‘real-world’ settings are those either with a low combat quotient, or those set in wartime. However good hir intentions, the ‘Child of Bhaal’ would have been locked up in the real world long before they got to confront Sarevock, especially without convenient kobolds to stand in for humans.

    Now, I think its fair enough that the faux Medieval setting is over-represented in the fantasy stakes, although I do think the label is applied erroneously sometimes. Something steam-punk might make a nice change, and Neil Gaiman has written some excellent fantasy in a contemporary setting that would make an excellent RPG setting. (Neverwhere especially)

    There’s also the idea of a combatless RPG (or at least combat lite). It would need beefed up conversation systems, providing a variety of approaches that would both influence and be influenced by the character’s reputation amongst various groups within the game. (Celtic football shirt: +5 charisma against Celtic supporters, -5 Charisma against Ranger’s supporters) Stealth could also play a role, and perhaps a few adventure esque puzzle solutions. I guess P&P RPGers would have more to suggest in line with this approach.

    * By which I mean it becomes an issue, not that they’ll have trouble sleeping at night.

  10. caesarbear says:

    The only thing wrong with it so far is the voice acting, all of it in that trailer and the pre rendered thingy is buttock clenchingly awful.

    “Have at thee!”

    This looks like it has the potential to satiate all those who complained about the official campaigns of NWN 1 + 2 and completely missed the point of that series. Making an RPG non-toolkit, non-community content, non-multiplayer oriented can free you to craft a very pleasant singleplayer experience. The questions now are, how open is the gameplay and are the characters good.

  11. spd from Russia says:

    oh man, a year of almost no games to play, and now all the goodies coming out this fall!

  12. MetalCircus says:

    @James G

    Surely moral safeguards are worse in the long run for the industry (from an artistic viewpoint I mean) I think there needs to be games that push you to think about what you just did and weather or not it was the best of choices. A clear moral black and white might work for the likes of star wars and call of duty, but games like Fallout were really complex in getting you to weigh up the pro’s and con’s of your situation.

    If we’re going to rely on moral safe routes then we’ll just have legions of Tom Clancy/Tolkein rip-offs. Where’s the Clockwork Orange’s of video games, ay? We need something with a large dash of moral ambiguity about it and by that I’m not saying “lets make a game as barbaric and horrible as possible” I’m saying we should be making games that are asking important questions without falling back on tired black and white cliché’s, which is currently what the industry is plagued with.

  13. spd from Russia says:

    James G: WW2 RPG plz :) Iv been advocating this idea forever

  14. CaptainJorge says:

    @MetalCircus

    Non-Tolkienesque rpg with moral ambiguity: Deus Ex

  15. MetalCircus says:

    Aye but i’ve played DX to death ten thousand times ;)

  16. Red Penguin says:

    3x Greater Malison and a quivering palm will sort that monster out. Will there be greater malison’s and quivering palms?

    I’m just playing BG2 through at the minute actually, the voice acting puts this to shame. Don’t want to be all “THISISNOTWHATI’M USEDTOSOIDON’TLIKEIT” about this, but I really was expecting BG 3. I’m sure I’ll grow to love it though.

  17. Pidesco says:

    What I’d like to see would be a 30s noir RPG. It would be perfect for a dialogue heavy RPG.

  18. MetalCircus says:

    Thats a brilliant idea.

    They should let us make games, really.

  19. Jochen Scheisse says:

    Apart from that Cyberpunk game I’m aching for, I’m also waiting for the Dashiell Hammett game that starts with a blonde whose legs don’t end. Cowboys would also be nice.

  20. CaptainJorge says:

    @MetalCircus

    I hear ya. It’s too bad there are so few games that can compare to it in that respect.

  21. Petrushka says:

    I think we’ve already got enough information to determine that this is no BG3. Do the following points sound familiar? — we have a party with four characters maximum; everyone who “dies” in battle automagically comes back to life at the end of the battle; as a result you never need to think about long-term strategy.

    Clearly, this is NWN3 … with an emphasis on single-player.

    And with the emphasis clearly on combat and not at all on story, choice, or dialogue (I thought the dialogue system in Mass Effect had great promise, so that’s a shame), I’m now looking forward to Dragon Age a lot less than I was.

  22. James G says:

    @MetalCircus

    Oh I completely agree, it is definitely a direction more games need to take is the medium is to move forward. My intent wasn’t to suggest that games should avoid this, but to point out that it is a more difficult route to take, both in terms of game design, and player acceptance.

    I’d love to develop an RPG which really played around with some of these ideas. I’m currently playing Mass Effect, and have particularly enjoyed some of the decisions which have relied more on ideology, than any good/evil divide. On a couple of occasions I have ended up going all Doctor Who, “Yes, I kow they may have attempted to wipe out all life in the galaxy, but did you have to go ahead and kill them?”

    I’ve also got a vague desire to make a game which attempts to force the player through increasingly objectionable scenarios in an attempt to challenge their comfort level and their ability to distance fantasy and reality. Unfortunately I imagine this would be exceedingly difficult to pull off effectively. Not only would it be open to mis-interpretation, but with poor presentation it would end up being either unintentionally hilarious, or gratuitously but entertainingly sociopathic. (And even if it was written by the finest writer who ever lived I’m sure there’d be some who’d maintain the seperation without ever getting uncomfortable, and some who’d enjoy the affair and be disapointed it was only a game.)

  23. CaptainJorge says:

    @Petrushka

    Hear hear!

  24. richard says:

    Did girlfriend say “Release the hounds!”??? ‘Cause that’s quite enough to put it over the top in my book.

  25. MetalCircus says:

    @James G

    Sounds like what you’re aiming for is similiar to (and sorry for using this as an example again) A Clockwork Orange did for cinema, essentially forcing the viewer to watch something uncomfortable to get them to think.

    The same thing wouldn’t work for video games. Simply watching a nasty act would fall a bit flat but acctually forcing the player to make a choice of rather dubious nature would be quite something. Remember in Deus Ex when you were ordered to kill Levedev? On my first play through I shot him and immidiatly felt bad because, during conversation, the guy seemed to know what he was talking about and, as the game unfolds you realize he probably would have had good intentions… and I still feel horrible about killing that man, so I don’t kill him anymore :P

    Then again these kinds of games are a logistical nightmare like you say but, if you haven’t sacrificed something, you haven’t made art… :)

  26. sigma83 says:

    I want Mass Effect 2! Sci fi > fantasy any day of the week and twice on Tuesdays!*

    *cause Tuesdays is when the WoW servers get taken offline…? Get it? nvm.

  27. Stick says:

    @Petrushka:

    You may have jumped to conclusions. :)

    There is no resurrection magic. There’s no instant heal magic. Characters who are downed in combat suffer lasting, debilitating wounds.

    Automagical end-of-combat revival… works. In the context.

    As for “focus on combat over story/choice/dialogue”… I got a different picture from reading dev posts on the BioWare foums.

    @MetalCircus et al:

    Hey, not at all opposed to other RPG genres. I’m just happy enough seeing BW do their own fantasy without being limited by the Marvel Universe Forgotten Realms…

  28. caesarbear says:

    And with the emphasis clearly on combat and not at all on story, choice, or dialogue…

    How in the hell can you tell that? I’m not going to bet that it isn’t, given BioWare recent consoley products, but where in the trailer did you see the outline of the entire game’s character and complexity as to dialogue? Might as well assume that the player has absolutely no dialogue choices at all.

    I can sympathize with the fervent cRPG defending, as I think most game producers are too lazy or too jaded to make complex RPGs these days, but the NMA-style of attacking before any facts get out is very tiring.

  29. TheApologist says:

    I literally just installed BG2 a few days ago after I saw the pre-rendered trailer, convinced that they weren’t making them like this any more.

    But they are!

    I will deffo be having at them when this comes out.

  30. Deadcatt says:

    With no time for MMORPG’s ( and yes I will try to squeeze WAR under the GF radar ), I’m glad there are still a few good CRPG’s to play out there. This one looks great.

  31. Fumarole says:

    That video makes me feel kinda funny, like when we used to climb the rope in gym class.

  32. James T says:

    Tch, this is just going to be Mass Effect with guns!

  33. KingMob says:

    This looks very good.

    I really hope this has the well-designed scripting for party members that BG2 had (and I don’t really know if anything else had after that). I remember being able to set up a group so they played intelligently and rarely needed to be micromanaged… I miss that.

  34. Psychopomp says:

    Listen to Stick, this man speaks the truth.

  35. Winterborn says:

    I think the saying is ‘do want’.

  36. droid says:

    At 0:37, there is a voice of “Release the ham!”

    Huh?

  37. Man Raised By Puffins says:

    Release the hounds!

    Them Fereldens like their dogs, apparently.

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